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Black Sticks and Hockeyroos draw 1-1

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/04/2017

Samantha Harrison scored the vital equaliser late in play. © Kerry Marshall/Getty Images) Samantha Harrison scored the vital equaliser late in play. The women's Festival of Hockey remains in the balance after the tournament-leading Hockeyroos and Black Sticks played out a hard fought 1-1 draw.

New Zealand fans spent most of the game in Hastings nervously waiting on the edge of their seats as the home side trailed deep into the second half.

It was not until striker Samantha Harrison fired a goal above the Australian keeper's head in the 51st minute that the home side was able to level the game.

Earlier, Australia hit the front in the 28th minute when Madi Ratcliffe fired a bullet into the net after receiving the ball from a Gabi Nance penalty corner.

The trans-Tasman rivals are now hot favourites to meet again in Sunday's final of the four-nation tournament after picking up points in the draw.

Australia are top of the tournament table with nine points, while the Black Sticks are in second on eight points.

Earlier on Thursday, the USA surprised Japan with a 4-1 thrashing as they led the clash from start to finish.

The loss keeps Japan in third place in the tournament standings on six points.

However, they still have a chance of playing in the final, meeting Australia in a must-win encounter in their last round-robin match.

The US are fourth on the tournament table with four points.

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